Make Social Media Work for You: A Four-step Guide to Driving Revenue

Make Social Media Work for You: A Four-step Guide to Driving Revenue

As of 2020, there are nearly 4 billion social media users, including the over 90% of businesses that have also deployed a social media strategy. What does this large user pool mean to PR practitioners? It is simultaneously more challenging and more profitable to cut through the noise and gain visibility.

As opposed to only drafting content to be posted online, social media marketing has become a more extensive process, including analysis of web statistics and targeted strategies. As those who have tried to meet a Tweet’s character limit can attest, it can seem like your conducting intensive surgery with each and every word!

But beneath all the traffic statistics and intricate tactics, the core fundamentals driving a campaign will, in the end, determine if it is successful or not. Fortunately, these crucial components can be condensed to these basic tenets – monitoring, managing, measuring and monetizing.

Once marketers master the art of creating a clear plan of action that incorporates these four tenets, social media campaigns can be carried out with great success.

Monitor the social media ecosystem

Whether you’re creating an entire digital marketing strategy or are just trying to find the best hashtags or subject for your CEO’s next post, knowing the trending topics pertinent to your target audience as well as what social activities competitors are doing is a vital first step. Monitoring active conversations also brings an additional benefit – it helps you find new subjects that your business can offer unique insight into.

Manually scouring different platforms for keywords can suck up too much time for the effort. Instead, once you’ve defined goals, it helps to adopt a centralized software solution, like Hootsuite, that is able to track and analyze conversations and supply immediate insights. When using a software platform, be sure you know how to best use its search strings and capabilities to maximize efforts.

Manage efficiently to achieve clearly defined goals

Activities should be carried out to achieve SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely) goals. Once a campaign is started, efficient management is vital to achieving these clearly laid out goals. It is crucial to refine social campaigns by tracking what is working and what is not and quickly reacting to improve performance. Additionally, those managing social media should avoid scenarios where they are rushing to manually post all their content. Instead, tweets and posts should be planned, scheduled and tracked within a calendar.

It is also critical to respond to any comments, or a dearth of them. This helps teams encourage conversations and discover new leads. While analytics, software platforms and strategies are necessary, efficiently managing execution will also be a critical success factor to continuous success over time.

Measure progress continuously

Social media campaigns can include marketing on many platforms, making them difficult to track and analyze. Yet, doing so is vital, especially if you must report to a chief marketing officer, other executives or board members.

To make reporting more efficient, you should decide on how you plan to measure success before you begin working on it, create a central place for all stakeholders involved to regularly track metrics, and ensure the data being tracked tells a compelling story about how social media marketing is driving revenue or improving customer service.

As an example, there are more than 1 billion websites vying for engagement, so a major goal when measuring your social media will probably be tied to generating website traffic. For such a goal, you should track measurements like post click-through rates in combination with ways to monitor how a website engages viewers and converts traffic to leads. By consistently measuring such traits, you demonstrate to your organizational leaders how sales are being bolstered while also gaining knowledge about which strategies are most effective.

Monetize social campaigns

With measurements helping create a data-led path to follow, you will ultimately want to demonstrate how your social media marketing is driving revenue growth. If marketers are able to draw a direct connection between social media marketing and sales, the value a campaign is bringing becomes immediately noticeable.

To link your reporting metrics to bottom-line growth, you should measure the impact of owned, earned and paid media in relation to overarching goals that depict value, like customer service and retention, social presence and lead generation. Then there are key metrics that should be monitored, including the number of comments, SEO scores, email sign-ups, click-throughs, followers, etc.

While there are a plethora of metrics that can indicate social media success, organizational leaders will be most concerned with customer retention, lead conversion and any benchmark that directly links marketing to revenue growth.

Diligently pursue success

Try to help others understand that social media marketing is not about instantaneous gratification. This is particularly true if your goal is to keep customers tuned in and develop ongoing relationships with them.

Instead, success can be achieved by consistently following these four fundamentals, tracking different metrics to improve efforts and significantly contributing to the bottom line wherever possible. Taking this type of action now will help a business to better compete in years to come, especially as the number of social media users continually grows alongside the social media strategies of most businesses.

By Robert Brownlie, Bob Gold & Associates

About the Author

Robert Brownlie is an integral part of the team at Bob Gold & Associates (BG&A) located in Los Angeles, California. Robert leads numerous technology accounts, including NiceLabel and Opengear. Prior to joining BG&A, Robert’s professional experiences include editing and creating technical documents, proposals and marketing materials for healthcare IT and civil engineers. Before entering the compelling world of public relations and business-to-business communication, Robert tutored English grammar at Long Beach City College and attended California State University Long Beach, where he graduated with a degree in English and Technical Communications. His background enables him to effectively write and pitch content for clients and contribute to results-driven marketing and communications strategies.

It’s not all bad news

It’s not all bad news

It’s a sad but true fact that it often takes a disaster or calamitous event for real change to happen. Like when new safety measures are hurriedly imposed after a fire, despite the fact that experts had been warning long beforehand that they were needed. It seems, at least for now, that it has taken the catastrophe of the global pandemic and its far-reaching effects in our personal and work lives for business leaders to become aware and focus their minds on the real value of PR.

All too often, PR makes up a small percentage of global marketing budgets, with advertising and events making up by far the largest part of total marketing spend. Despite PR being demonstrably better value for money in the long term. That has all changed drastically this year with most media reporting that advertising-income has plummeted as a result of the pandemic and the events industry, for obvious reasons, has all but evaporated overnight. I ran into a friend in the supermarket the other day – he runs an event management agency and I hadn’t seen him since the first lockdown. I asked him how business was, to which he replied that he had had to close it down

This made me feel slightly uncomfortable because exactly the opposite has happened to our business since the start of the crisis and it’s not hard to see that a significant part of the client revenue he used to enjoy is now being diverted to PR agencies like ours. As our partners correctly imply in their blog posts below, it is now more critical than ever for businesses to invest in communication. On the one hand in order to reassure their target audiences, clients, partners, employees and other stakeholders about what their organisation is doing to mitigate the effects of the constantly changing situation. And on the other hand, because most forward-thinking businesses will be aware that investing in reaching out to their audiences now will provide greater returns, once life returns to something resembling normal in the future. Also, it will help position them favourably against competitors who perhaps decided not to continue their communication plans for the moment.

Those businesses that recognise this are turning to PR as one of the most viable alternatives to advertising, especially tech companies. The global pandemic has forced an acceleration in the adoption of digital technologies which in many cases were already out there in the market but struggling to gain recognition. Automation, video streaming, cloud storage, Big Data, e-commerce, video conferencing – all are enjoying a boom in awareness and media interest due to the pandemic and after many years of advocating for technology to be put at the centre of achieving digital transformation. Vendors in these areas are now the absolute protagonists.

And it is the acceptance of these digital technologies within the context of the global pandemic, which is providing us with innumerable storytelling. Use case stories with human interest that help us reach out to media we were unable to approach before. Such as how automation is helping businesses cope with safety restrictions in the workplace and labour shortages, boutique retailers forced by circumstances to adopt e-commerce to sell their wares and who are now selling more than ever. Video conferencing platforms helping families and friends keep in touch during lockdown and periods of isolation, and so on.

The Covid crisis has been undeniably catastrophic for the world in so many ways, with millions losing loved ones or suffering the long term effects of having caught the virus themselves. And so many others, like the friend I met in the supermarket, whose businesses and livelihoods have been destroyed. But if you look hard, one can see many positives to come out of this – changes that have presented us with an opportunity to re-evaluate the way we live and the way we do business and maybe, just maybe, find ourselves living in a better world when this is all over. How remote working has allowed so many to recover the time they used to waste commuting to the office and as a result reconnect with their homes and family lives is just one example of this.

For my part I hope that companies will continue to appreciate PR for the valuable tool that it is even after the crisis comes to an end, marketing activities such as events and trade shows become workable again and they have to decide where to assign budget.

By Piers Finzel, Managing Director, Finzel PR